A Podcast to inspire and motivate women in midlife! Let's Calm the Chaos in our lives so we can go after our purpose and passion!

The Calm the Chaos Podcast is a weekly podcast featuring guests who help to inspire and motivate women in midlife towards their goals and dreams! They share their messages and provide the listener with resources and content to take that next step. 

If you have a story you’d like to share with our listeners, please contact me. 

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It was a total pleasure to speak with Deborah. She’s a wonderful and well-informed interviewer who drew out the ideas from my book through her insightful questions that would most help women in mid-life. The resulting interview was informative and fun.

Jennifer Louden


Elizabeth Dunkel is a writer, author and is here today talking about her journey in writing the book:  How to Live Like A Millionaire on a Retirement Budget!   I found Elizabeth through her website a couple of months ago! Her writing is wonderful and she tackles some great topics for us, women, over forty!  

Elizabeth starts by sharing how we think about retirement your entire life and dream of what it will be like for yourself and then you get to retirement and say, “ what is this?”  There is a fine balance between living a full life and preparing for retirement.  She says that in preparing to retire, you don’t want to air on the wrong on either side!  Elizabeth shares how your forties are a great time to get your financial house in order!  That first step is to become financially literate.  

She goes on to share that if you are not financially literate in your forties now is the time to get there!  The personal journey she shares about having gone through a financial crisis and learning more about the financial services industry helps us to understand and be able to move forward with a new story for women over forty! 

Elizabeth wanted to write her book so she could show how luxury and abundance is a mindset.  There are ways to live beautifully and luxuriously and like a millionaire on very little money!  It’s all about changing priorities.   It’s about living beneath your means but NOT scrimping!  

She goes on to say that luxury is all about developing your personal style and being authentically you. It’s about finding pleasure in the tremendous sensuality of life that is around you.  Elizabeth goes on to share that buying the perfect tomato and making a tomato sandwich with homemade bread is extraordinarily luxurious. It’s your care and time that went into making that sandwich that made it beautiful.   

Elizabeth shares that retirement is not a moment which is really how we viewed it long ago. You worked for a company and on a specific day, you received the gold watch.  Those days are over!  Retirement now takes a few years to ease into your mind and body.  She shares that it is a process of turning into a person who can truly pursue their passions. Elizabeth goes on to share the passions that she has discovered in this later season of life.  

In her book, she shares how to eat, travel, and dress like a millionaire and during our interview shares some of these lessons she has learned.  One great share from Elizabeth is that rushing is not luxurious!  Stop rushing to the airport!  It only creates and causes stress and makes you sweaty.  By leaving to the airport early you can arrive calm and have the time to relax and that doesn’t even cost a penny!  She shares many more examples in our conversation.  

We then have a great conversation about the process of aging and how we all have a special season of growth during each decade and how important it is to recognize and honor that journey!  It’s a beautiful conversation where Elizabeth shares her review of each season so that it may help us all to take a moment to enjoy ours!  

Elizabeth shares a great quote regarding fear:  “Fear is not an option”. – Diane Von Furstenberg.  There were plenty of times Elizabeth was afraid but she had to put her fear aside and take a risk to move back to the states and start a new life. You can live with fear but at some point, you have to put it aside so you can challenge yourself to move forward.  

Lastly, Elizabeth shares that being retired is like being a college student with money. You can read, sleep late, go to the movies. You are now a student of life!  How are you preparing for retirement and are you becoming financially literate?  Share in the comments!  



Connect with Elizabeth Dunkel 

Check out Elizabeth’s Writing at Sixty and ME  

Order the Book How to Retire Like a Millionaire on a Retirement Budget 

Connect with Deborah Voll

Take The Midlife Quiz

Passion and Purpose Digital Workbook



When Beth Garrett is not helping women dress for success, you can find her out on the dance floor! Today Beth shares what dancing has done for her life and hopefully inspires you to get out there and give it a try! If not the Carolina Shag then any form of dance that fills you with joy! 

 After retiring from corporate America, Beth decided to take up dancing. She’s always wanted to dance and one day someone invited her to dance and after one lesson, she’s never looked back!  Today Beth shares her passion for dancing and is encouraging us all to get out, be curious and try new things!  Who knows, maybe line dancing is in your future!  

Beth shares for the listeners that her line dancing is primarily the Carolina Shag which originated in Myrtle Beach, SC and it’s a beautiful dance.  Think of dancing to any four-count music like:  Under the Boardwalk.  ( take a listen ) 

After Beth’s move to Roanoke, Virginia she felt isolated and lonely and she didn’t have a lot of friends. It was after she started going to the dance events that she met people that have now become her very best friends!  Beth loves that dancing provides you with a sense of community.  

For a lot of women that would like to dance but don’t have a partner, line dancing is a great option because it doesn’t require a partner, and you never feel left behind.  You can feel included and make friendships along the way.  

Not only is line dancing inclusive, but it challenges your brain.   If you choose, you can continue to learn new dances which help you utilize your memory!  Dancing is a great way to get out, challenge your memory, and get some exercise! 

How do you find someplace to learn dancing or start to get involved in a community? Beth shares that a good place to start is your Parks and Recreation Department which may offer classes.  You may also want to check Facebook or ask your friends if they have heard of any groups.  

Beth tackles the fear someone may feel going to an event on their own and how to get over that hurdle because she’s done it too!  She offers some insight, so if you are on the fence about going to an event on your own perhaps this will help you make the leap.  

Beth and her husband are now taking their RV to the road and attending beach music events in their geography!  They  have made a lot more friendships with other couples doing the same with camping and attending the events which was very surprising to her the following in the line dancing community. 

Dancing also helps Beth maintain her flexibility and help with her weight management.  Some extra bonuses that she has enjoyed along the way.  

Beth is now helping a DJ grow his audience! She created a Facebook page and is now teaching line dancing to others with his music on Tuesday evening!  I’m sure Beth never thought that she would be teaching the dance but she finds it fun and rewarding!  

I hope that Beth has inspired you to dust off your dancing shoes and get out and find some dance moves that you’ll enjoy!  Share with the community if you are now dancing!  



Under the Boardwalk, By The Drifters  

Learn to Dance the Carolina Shag Dance 

Connect with Beth Garrett at Elevating Your Image

Beth’s Previous Interview on Calm The Chaos here 

Connect with Deborah Voll

Take The Midlife Quiz

Passion and Purpose Digital Workbook


Sarah Snyder returns to the podcast to share her newest book:  DIY Solo Retreats!  Sarah is a writer and conversationalist whose passion is helping others connect spiritually to the outdoors, nature and science.   

This conversation will inspire you because we all need to take more time to practice self-care.  A  DIY solo retreat is not about getting in the car and driving to your nearest spa.  This is about intentionally creating time and an environment to nurture yourself.  In her book, Sarah shares how to create a retreat in your home or remotely because let’s face it, with the pandemic we may want to remain socially distanced.  Also, many of us don’t have the luxury of going away for a retreat consistently so finding a way to create these opportunities is the best way to acknowledge and honor your needs. Plus recharge your battery!  

Sarah started her journey with the book by sharing on her blog different aspects of retreating. She received feedback that they were all very helpful and was asked if she could put together a book for her community. She then decided to take on the challenge and realized that there was a lot more she could share and expand on within the book.  The book:  DIY Solo Retreats, is under 25,000 words so it’s short and an easy read and will inspire you to take some time to create a retreat for yourself!  

Sarah shares why we need to create time for ourselves to retreat.  The retreat allows us to Calm the Chaos and turn into ourselves and own the power that we have internally.  The only way to do this is to schedule this time into your day or week!  Even 30 minutes per week is something and so important. It helps us to cope with the challenges that we are facing personally and as a collective society!  

We talk about “ME “ time and for Sarah, she defines that as MINE EXCLUSIVELY, which I thought was brilliant!  Had not heard of that before but it rang true for me.  The conversation then dives into being purposeful about the time we are creating for ourselves by having an intention of what we want to achieve in that time. It can be simple or complex.  Sarah recommends simple as she feels that simple is always best.  If you don’t set an intention with your retreat, then Sarah shares that from her experience, your mind may just run off thinking about your to-do lists!  That wouldn’t be very peaceful, would it?  Sarah shares some tips on how to keep even a short period focused and intentional for those who may just be beginning this practice.  

Sarah shares the importance of creating a set space for yourself to have your ME TIME and be able to retreat. This way your body and mind recognize that when you arrive at this place that you are safe and can then relax and set your intention.  Your mind has a muscle memory that knows that when you are in that space you know what to do.  As you become more experienced with your practice it will be easier to take it to other locations.  

Our discussion turns to how to prepare emotionally for a retreat.  Sarah says this is important especially if you are going to be dealing with a difficult topic or getting quiet and listening for answers that need some type of resolution.  For example, you may be contemplating a move or a job change and need to get quiet and have some clarity about questions you may have regarding these opportunities.  You’ll need to prepare yourself for what comes up.  Her words of wisdom are to expect the unexpected that may come up for you during your ME TIME  

Sarah shares her tips on how to put together a full-day retreat and why taking the time for an entire day to yourself is so important.  For Sarah, many of her full-day retreats involve being out in nature.  She may take herself out on a “date” to a botanical garden or a nature preserve. Somewhere peaceful where she can connect with herself and nature.  By getting away and out in nature you are less likely to be distracted by responsibilities at home.

We discuss the importance of getting quiet and finding ways to listen to yourself.   To Calm the Chaos, we need to get quiet in our minds and surroundings so we can hear our true desires!  

Sarah encourages you to permit yourself to take this time because it’s yours,  you deserve it, and don’t ever tell you that you are being selfish!  




Sandy Davies is the formulator and founder of HappyPause.  HappyPause is a plant-based preservative-free natural moisturizing balm for vulvovaginal dryness.  

Sandy starts by sharing a bit about her story and why she invented her product HappyPause!  

HappyPause Balm started when Sandy was dealing with a difficult perimenopausal experience.  When she developed the product Sandy was thinking that if she could help just one person, then it would be a success and now she has connected the product with hundreds of women around the globe!  

Her journey started by going to numerous general practitioners and being told “it’s just peri-menopause”   and one doctor actually offered her counseling!  She then discovered a book and realized that she was not alone! Vaginal dryness and atrophy is a real thing.  Sandy then went to a chemist and what she was given created a terrible reaction.  After the reaction, she looked at the ingredient list and realized that the label had too many chemicals! It was then she thought, “there has to be a better way than this”.  

HappyPause is available in a balm and you need only a tiny pearl and as it penetrates the skin, it stays on the skin for hours and helps as Sandy says: “you put a spring back in your step”.  As Sandy started the journey to developing the product she first ordered products from across the globe to test them out and found that for some of them, it wasn’t a very pleasant or comfortable experience.  She felt the product needed to be simple, feel good, and last.  

The testimonials about HappyPause are numerous and most women comment about how the product has changed their lives!  

Sandy walks us through some symptoms of vaginal dryness and what can create this problem for most women.  We may be experiencing the symptoms and not be aware of the root cause.  She goes on to share that there has been so little research in the past but that 20% of women have severe dryness and of that 20%, less than 18% have ever talked to our doctor.  

Women in menopause have enough irritations during this time. If we can eliminate one additional, then Sandy feels as though she’s made a difference!  

In the formulation of the product, Sandy goes on to share that in her journey she is reminded that you need to trust your inner voice.  It doesn’t lead us astray. There were a lot of people who weighed in on what ingredients should be included. After hearing everyone’s input, she went back to the original base product in the formulation.  She shares that the simplest idea can be the best idea.  We don’t need to overpower with perfumes or preservatives!  She loves keeping her product basic and pure.  

Sandy continues to speak with other women who have tried the product.  Her conversation affirms that dryness is having a big impact on everyone’s wellness and wellbeing and how one product can change how you feel about your intimate core which is the secret to flourishing everywhere!  




Hanna Milton


Are you ready for a discussion with someone who is passionate about making meditation and wellbeing practices easy?  Hanna Milton is a mindful and well-being instructor!  Every technique that Hanna traces is scientifically proven, rooted in mindfulness, and hand-selected based on her personal experience.  Hanna shares why she started focusing on helping people reduce stress and anxiety through mindfulness.

Hanna shares in our interview how she didn’t always live a mindful life.  In the first six years of her adult life and entering her career, she felt like life was a constant struggle and she was pretty miserable.  Her focus at the time was to work really hard and focus on progressing her career? Perhaps that’s similar to your story?  At the time, she felt that her happiness would come “someday”  when her things were “sorted out”.  

When Hanna discovered mindfulness and the world of mental wellbeing, she realized that she was searching for happiness and calm in all the wrong places!  

It was at that time that she started to respond to life from an internal place.  It wasn’t about changing the external or being something she wasn’t already.  It was then that she set out on a mission.  For that, Hanna began to retrain her mind and that meant turning down the volume on negative self chatter and anxious thoughts.  Also, learning to respond to unpleasant emotions better and how her body was contributing to her misery. Making her feel tenser and worked up.  Slowly things started to change for Hanna.  Because her practices were so life-changing, she declined to launch a well-being business.  

We take a deeper dive into what it means to Hanna to retrain your mind and what that looked like for her in her practice. One of these techniques is called:  Diffusion which is to create some space between your and your thoughts.  She goes on to give some excellent examples of how to use this technique.  

Hanna then shares why she started focusing on helping people reduce stress and anxiety through mindfulness.  It goes back to her earlier days when she felt this at work but figured that this was just part of life.  It was after her mindfulness practice got implemented that she realized that everything she thought was “normal” to experience in her work life was anxiety and stress and she was passionate about helping others through her community.  Life doesn’t need to feel like an uphill challenge!  

Hanna tells us that you can train your mind to be on your side!  Your mind can help support your happiness and well-being. She shares about her online class which is available which is all about retraining your mind to be on your side by introducing the techniques that you will have in your toolbox!  

You can free yourself by acknowledging that life will always have ups and downs and we need to learn how to manage our thoughts and emotions.  Difficulties will always pass and this can be reassuring.  We can also choose to decide how we want to think about a specific circumstance so we can drive a different emotion.  

Hannah wants people to trust that there is another way to live and that it requires putting in the effort to make it a part of your reality!  Mindfulness does require repetitive practice and effort.  





Kate Erickson shares about how she uses The Mastery Journal to Calm the Chaos in her life! The journal helps her to stay more focused and productive every day!  Kate shares how the Freedom journals was their first tool and has you focus on achieving one goal with set targets within 100 days! After the rollout of the Freedom Journal, their audience was asking them, “how do you focus on multiple things and move forward in a productive way and still get to enjoy life?”  That’s when the Mastery Journal was created!  The Mastery Journal is how to master productivity, discipline, and focus in 100 days!  

Kate already felt like a pretty productive and disciplined person when it came to focusing and getting things accomplished. However, when she started to use the journal, what she was doing in six hours, she was now doing in 3 ½ hours!  Who wouldn’t love to have that type of productivity! I know I would love to have more free time for the things I enjoy!  She shares her passion for helping people understand that very small tweaks in how you set yourself up for success every day can make a massive difference!  

The Mastery Journal is a powerful tool in helping people focus on the right things and not let everyday distractions get in the way of us accomplishing our goal!  

The Mastery Journal starts by having you plan out your morning routine which plays a big part in how you create momentum for your day!  You get to plan out that day before what that looks like for you and a desired start and end time.  They pick a beginning and end time because if things are “open-ended”, you are more likely to get distracted or take that much longer to get done!  I’ve had a lot of success saying that this is only going to take me one hour and by golly, I get it done in one hour!  You stay focused to get it done!  

After the morning routine, you go into four focus sessions.  You set up a focus time and then a refreshing time ( which would be time for you to get up and get that next cup of coffee or tea and do some stretching )  By writing down your four focus sessions, it helps you not to break your focus!  

In each of the sessions, you score yourself with a discipline and productivity score.  This is on a scale of 1-10.  This is great feedback for you to better understand how you can better prepare for the sessions and if you did get distracted was it in or out of your control?  

We book-end the journal by planning for tomorrow!  What went well for the day and what didn’t go so well?  We can then ask ourselves, how can we plan better for tomorrow?  So, before your feet hit the floor the next morning you already know what that routine will look like and your goals and objectives! 

I share my experiences with the Mastery Journal! How using this as a guideline has given me the freedom and more time to do the things I love without having the guilt that I should be working on something more for that day!  

Kate shares the type of results and feedback that others have gotten by using the Mastery Journal!   It does give you the freedom to pursue more or just take the time to relax!